Monday, March 31, 2014

A Chronology of Paying Attention (13): the preacher's family is a dancing family

*I first wrote this post for the Dance issue of Catapult* Magazine, May 2013*

“From the oldest of times, people danced for a number of reasons. They danced in prayer or so that their crops would be plentiful or so their hunt would be good. And they danced to stay physically fit and show their community spirit. And they danced to celebrate.” And that is the dancing we’re talking about. Aren’t we told in Psalm 149 “Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song. Let them praise His name in the dance”? And it was King David — King David, who we read about in Samuel — and what did David do? What did David do?
-- Ren in Footloose (1984)
One night when I was about 16 years old, a late-winter snowstorm closed down the streets.  You’d have to live through a blizzard to understand the silence of snow.  At the time, I could barely see past my adolescent angst to notice my brothers, sisters and parents.  But this night the snow fell, Dad built a fire under the mantel, my brother baked chocolate chip cookies and someone put a Beach Boys cassette tape into the player and cranked up the volume.  Then my preacher father danced like we’d never seen him dance — maybe because we turned off all the lights or because we felt isolated by snow, like the only family on the earth that night.  All I know is that for the accumulation of good memories my parents gave me, very few moments captured my imagination like the night we danced on the living room rug in the firelight.  I’m pretty sure I went back to being perpetually miffed with all of them the next day, but now, tucked into my sensory memory, was the knowledge the preacher’s family could dance.

1989: Footloose

I remember everything about the night perfectly. After 12 years together at a Christian school, my best friend enrolled in public school her senior year. I tagged along to the first dance for moral support because neither one of us had ever been.  
I wore a shiny, white, polyester blouse (mock neck and capped sleeves) and pastel pink, pleated pants, pumps, dangly earrings, moussed-up bangs.  I’m sure we danced with people a few times — some of Lori’s new friends — but mostly I remember the throbbing music touching off some inner pulse I didn’t even know I possessed.  To borrow a line, “I had the time of my life and I’d never felt this way before.”

2001: Play that funky music

My husband and I didn’t dance at our wedding.  Truth is, even if it would have been permitted, we wouldn’t have known how.  We didn’t drink then, either.  It took ten years of keeping vows — some years, just barely —  before we figured out we really needed to dance.  We celebrated our anniversary on a free Caribbean cruise, found the dance floor and the frozen fruity drinks.  We closed the club each night, dancing off our pent-up piety.

2007: Foxtrot

A few years ago, while two or three dozen of my extended family still gathered for Thanksgiving dinner, an ambitious relative cleared the far side of the fire hall for a dance floor.  One by one a few cousins, especially the littlest ones in the fourth generation, an uncle, an aunt began to twist and spin.  Without much coaxing, Grandpa and Grandma took their turn on the floor.  The fox trot never looked so good.  Before this November afternoon I’d only ever seen my grandfather’s eyes shine this shade of blue during heated volleyball matches at the cottage or banjo-plucking sessions to old gospel tunes.  Standing along the wall, my mother whispered to me, “All these years, he thought he wasn’t supposed to dance.”
It’s one of the saddest epigraphs I can imagine.

2009: Polka

My friends Lori and Chris are great dancers. Firsthand, I’ve seen them swing, waltz and polka. For my thirty-eighth birthday party, they taught us to polka.  Seriously, that was my birthday present — can you possibly think of one better? We rolled up the rug, moved the living room furniture and gathered round to watch them demonstrate — to the tune of “In Heaven There Is No Beer.”  We watched and clapped and laughed. Then we tried to dance to “Roll Out the Barrel” and some of us did a pretty decent job.
Some of us, not so much.

2009: Thriller

One night during summer vacation on an Adirondack lake, we reached back into that family snowstorm memory,  lit lanterns on the deck and threw a full-out, shake-what-your-momma-gave-ya dance party.  The party became a tradition we repeat every summer when all 20 of us vacation together.  It’s always summer now, never a snowstorm.  The feeling of isolation is about the same because we tend to vacation at conservative church camps.  This means we have to close all the curtains and keep the speakers away from open windows.  We stomp and twirl and sweat through our summer clothes until we can’t take it anymore.  Then we  end the night jumping off some forbidden dock lit by an upstate New York sunset.
No one dances harder than the preacher (even though, on occasion, he makes us take an intermission for family devotions).
In 2009 some of the younger family members prepared ahead of time, learning all the steps to Thriller.  They performed it flash-mob style in a vacation town parking lot, the King of Pop singing back-up through my brother’s mini-van speakers.  

2011: Texas Two-Step

In July of 2011 we danced our hearts out at my sister’s wedding.  In August we moved our four kids 1,700 miles away from everyone we’d ever known.  Three months later, the newlyweds came to visit — our first guests from back home.  We’d planned a perfect itinerary for a Friday night in Austin:  country-fried steaks, cheap beer, cowboy boots and learning the Texas Two-Step at the advertised “last of the true Texas dance halls”. Problem was we were too poor to pay for lessons for all of us.  Determined to dance, we went back to our rental house, cleared the dining room floor and let YouTube be our guide.  Round and round the unlit fireplace we stepped, air conditioning blasting because outside felt like the surface of the sun.
We stamped out that grief like Jesus dancing on His tombstone, soles of our feet recalling that the preacher’s family is a dancing family.

What did David do? "David danced before the Lord with all his might, leaping and dancing before the Lord.”  Ecclesiastes assures us that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh and a time to weep. A time to mourn and there is a time to dance. And there was a time for this law, but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.

In this season that I do not have time to write, this is the idea God gave me:  For me to ponder and notice again the words I've already written once, to keep praying the beads of memory to discover this sacramental life.
Won't you join me?  
I'd welcome your company along the way.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Five Favorites: Books I Read in March + great online finds this week

Before sharing the book list:

No Lights | Andrew Nemr and Max ZT

A few weekends back I attend my fifth-annual retreat for Ministers to Artists at Laity Lodge. (read about previous years here).  I've been trying to describe to friends ever since the featured artists:  one of the world's premiere tap dancers and one of the world's premiere hammered dulcimer players, together.  Thankfully, the team at Laity Lodge captured some of the magic.

Five Favorites: my 2014 reading list

-- 1 --

6  This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett(Harper Collins, 2013. 306 pages) 

I've said it before: I'm in love with the essay as an art form.  With the exception of Flannery O'Connor's letters, give me any author -- Ann Patchett, say -- known for work in various genres and I'll, inevitably get to know them first in their essays.   So while I've never read any of  Ann Patchett's novels, I heard about the newly-released compilation of her published essays and snatched the book up at my library.  Then I read every word.  Of all the stories she tells about her childhood, marriage(s), and friendships, it's her words about being a writer that stand out more than any other.  "The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir about Writing and Life" included paragraphs like this jewel:
"When I can't think of another stall, when putting it off has actually become more painful than doing it, I reach up and pluck the butterfly from the air. I take it from the region of my head and I press it down against my desk, and there, with my own hand, I kill it. It's not that I want to kill it, but it's the only way I can get something that is so three-dimensional onto the flat page. Just to make sure the job is done I stick it into place with a pin. Imagine running over a butterfly with an SUV. Everything that was beautiful about this living thing -- all the color, the light and movement -- is gone."

-- 2 --

7  Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With a Christian Drunk by Heather Kopp: (Jericho Books, 2013. 224 pages) 

My friend Andrea introduced me to this writer, often sharing posts from Heather Kopp's insightful blog: Sober Boots.  I was glad to discover Ms. Kopp's memoir had been released and it was available from my library!  I read through in one evening.  The best benefit of reading a good story of redemption told in the framework of a memoir is that I recognize the truth of the Gospel again.  In Heather Kopp's vulnerable telling of acknowledging her alcoholism and maybe even more than that, the pain underneath that sought to be numbed, I gave thanks for redemption.  

-- 3 --

8  Beyond Smells & Bells: The Wonder and Power of Christian Liturgy by Mark Galli(Paraclete Press, 2008. 132 pages)

Our associate priest recommended this book to me for friends and family asking about my confirmation in the Anglican church.  In my previous life directing a worship and arts ministry without much direction to go by I've read several good books commending the practices of the historical church.  I'd add this book to the list.  Mark Galli writes in accessible, winsome language with an occasional poetic insight.  I'm looking forward to sharing this book. (go to my Book Pile page for a list of other books that guided me into a deeper desire to connect in worship with our Church family throughout history)

* Read my On Becoming Anglican page for more book titles I'd pass around if you were to ask me the question "What'd you do that for?"*

-- 4 --

9  Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey Into Meditative Prayer by Richard Foster(IVP Books, 2011. 165 pages)

A lovely little book encouraging readers into the practice of undistracted prayer. This takes work!  I'm hoping to be a better practitioner after this read. 

-- 5 --

10  The Diary of a Country Priest: A Novel by Georges Bernanos (Macmillan Co., 1937. 298 pages)

My friend Katie handed me this book while we were on retreat together the day of my birthday -- after I'd only mentioned in passing that I'd seen the title in Laity Lodge's library and that I'd been searching libraries for years for this title!  She handed it to me without ceremony, but I cried all the same.  Now I'm reading a few pages most nights before Brian and I fall asleep.  I don't think he'll be a country priest, probably, but we're grateful for the dreams we're collecting during this little compline ritual.

Here's the Amazon blurb:
In this classic Catholic novel, Bernanos movingly recounts the life of a young French country priest who grows to understand his provincial parish while learning spiritual humility himself. Awarded the Grand Prix for Literature by the Academie Francaise, The Diary of a Country Priest was adapted into an acclaimed film by Robert Bresson. "A book of the utmost sensitiveness and is a work of deep, subtle and singularly encompassing art." — New York Times Book Review 

*Go to my Book Pile page to see my reading lists from previous years.*

Other good words online this week

  • Artists as Stewards of  Physical Reality: a photographic record at Diary of an Arts Pastor: More about the retreat - "If you have ever wanted to hang with kindred spirits, who love the arts, who love artists, who love thinking deeply about the arts, and who love to share good food and plenty of laughter, then you should consider May, where Jeremy Begbie and company will be exploring the relationship between art, artists, and the reception of artwork, on the one hand, and the emotions, on the other. Stay tuned."
  • Flannery O'Connor [in honor of her birthday] at Razing the Bar:  "She could, from a distance, look a bit like a misanthrope, but she deeply loved humanity, even if she couldn’t always stand individual human beings. She was a devout Roman Catholic in the middle of the southern Bible Belt. She died far too young, at only 39, and she was always thinking about eternity. But here is where the contradictions ended: she was a moral compass. She pointed True North. Always."
  • You Have Never Talked to a Mere Mortal at Yet Untold: "Christ stepped down and lifted the veil, and I was able to see, if only for a moment, myself and my neighbor as we truly are." I met Erin Humphries at the same Laity Lodge retreat and spent an entire delicious meal getting to know her and her fiance'.  It was one of the best decisions of my weekend.  I'm glad for the opportunity to get to know her better through her art.


A book-filled weekend for us all, dear ones.

For more Five Favorites, visit Moxie Wife!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Chronology of Paying Attention (12): we were a page half-torn, my brother was the glue

*I first wrote this post on the occasion of my brother's birthday, May 2013.*

This One’s for You [Ryan]

Even if you didn’t have blonde curls (in later years, too).
Even if you didn’t have a crooner's singing voice,
            or dance with John Travolta's swing hips
            those slow Saturday evenings you shook up the groove,
it gladdens me, your life a God-sent gift;
            for we were a half-torn page and you were the glue.
Thirteen years difference between we two.
Sometimes it hardly matters. I’ve decided to befriend you,
            Rob, little brother to the Austins —
            or is it the story with Charles Wallace?
            Who cares? You remind me of him
too. Some brother watched me age, seriousness, in his kind eyes,
            said God bless you. And prayed, God bless me, too.
Sibling suspension: my own children grew.
Meaning: I spared too little time for you
            any hour past bedtime,
            and almost anytime I had too much to do.
            Consider this, too: gathering back, after a spell,
to someplace we could call home, you usually, well, always
            mutter a wisecrack so laughable, I crack up on cue.
What steady arrows you shoot, Ryan, become
a brother of the heart: you whisper
           sister, help me navigate
            and we do. Who am I talking to?
What is this rare connect, this juxtapose that always feels true?
Sometimes you say something like loo-loo, foo-foo,
and it sounds like laugh/dance/pray. That’s why this one’s for you.
In this season that I do not have time to write, this is the idea God gave me:  For me to ponder and notice again the words I've already written once, to keep praying the beads of memory to discover this sacramental life.

Won't you join me?  
I'd welcome your company along the way.
Do you have a favorite memory of your sibling?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Five Favorites: Lent albums (too many to list)

-- 1 -- 

Prayerbook Project, no. 2 by Brian Moss 


Brian is a friend I met first through his music.  He is making faithful, steady contributions to the beauty of the Church.  I'm also excited he'll be joining us in Austin on March 30 for an evening of Lenten reflection.

-- 2 -- 

The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like This by Rain for Roots


You might see this album and think Lent? A children's album?  May I encourage you to push those thoughts out of the way and click play?  Also, this album is a beautiful soundtrack for our family as we're making small attempts to memorize the Sermon on the Mount during Lent. Which reminds me of my all-time favorite song crafted for the Beatitudes:  Words to Build a Life On 


-- 3 -- 

Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices by The Welcome Wagon


-- 4 -- 

Depths of Mercy by Red Mountain Church


-- 5 -- 

Not A Word by Holy City Hymns


-- Bonus -- 

My Lent playlists on Spotify: Lent and Lent, the spirituals

Taize' on YouTube

Other good words online this week

  • Brian Moss and An Evening of Prayerbook Reflections at Christ Church of Austin: "Come and join us for a special evening of Lenten reflection with musical artist Brian Moss. Brian is currently writing songs based on each of the Psalms entitled The Prayerbook Project. He will share this with us in the Stott Room at the Christ Church Offices on Sunday, March 30 - doors & coffee at 6pm, concert starts at 6:30pm. The suggested donation for the evening is $10."
  • Alliance churches merge to expand outreach in Johnson City at  (My brother-in-law is pastoring this good work in our hometown) "Churches merging is certainly not new in the Southern Tier or elsewhere, particularly in recent years as the Catholic diocese downsized.But a plan that keeps the Johnson City church’s doors open in a neighborhood with few physical assets is a testament to outreach ministry."
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel a review by Frederica Mathewes-Green at Books & Culture: "The Grand Budapest Hotel is surely the most Wes-Andersony of all the Wes Anderson movies, and if you've never seen a Wes Anderson movie, well, I don't know what to tell you. Try this: of all contemporary filmmakers, Anderson is the one most likely to provoke reviewers to use the words "fey" and "twee." "


A song-filled weekend for us all, dear ones.

For more Five Favorites, visit Moxie Wife!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Chronology of Paying Attention (9): country folk in my family and in Wendell Berry's fiction

*I first wrote this post - "The book review in which I politely disagree with the mad farmer" -- in May 2013.*

When I read Wendell Berry's poems I find it easy to believe he and I share a kindred spirit.  I, too, care about resurrection, preserving the good and true and beautiful in a hell-bent civilization.  On the other hand when I read Berry's fiction I begin to suspect he would not much approve of me.  Thus, I read as if I were an adolescent constantly refuting "Yeah, but...." to the author's often narrow view of the good life and somewhat unjust generalizations of anyone who'd wander off the narrow path.  I can be contrarian, too, Mr. Berry.

I read about the Coulters and the Proudfoots and the Branches and Mr. Crow himself as if I know them, personally, and find them to be not representing themselves altogether truthfully.  Perhaps it's because two generations back on both sides of my family come from Port William-type villages in the center of New York state.  As I come into my own maturity I've begun to blend the good with the bad in that heritage -- the almost visceral knowing of the beauty of a creekbed, for example.  When Mr. Crow moves to his final home, living out the rest of his life on a riverbed, I feel like he's speaking my family dialect.  I know exactly the "substantial sound" of a a boat line plunking into the bottom of the wood, echoing across the water.  I comprehend the language of a single fish slurping from the surface of still water.  I know it because, by the grace of God and kindly grandparents, I've spent countless childhood days on a quiet waterfront.   But also, I think I know it because it's buried in my genes from generations before me.  

Before I was wholly alert to the world, my earliest memory involves a cow pasture, barbed wire fence, lazy brook, picnic lunch and homemade fishing pole.  The story tells it, this was the location for my first caught fish.  Now I think it was my first and only.  The pasture and brook ran the perimeter of my paternal grandfather's family town.  He didn't really get to grow up there -- his father making them townfolk, instead.  He spent many early days wandering in that place, and -- in some mysterious way -- passed that knowing down to my generation.

early memories in a pasture, my daddy and me

In the quiet-hearted moments with Wendell Berry's farmers and townfolk I imagine myself as one of them.  I've known them -- in my own family tree, in the contrarian church-goers my own father attracted for most of my childhood, in the lives of my own best friends still living among several generations on family land.

Other moments I am angry.  Mr. Berry's body of work lauds the unadulterated; how does he  reconcile glossing over (or at least hiding from his reader's view) the ugly dysfunctions that prosper alongside the natural beauty of such villages and pasturelands?  I've seen first-hand not only the ornery nature of such characters -- wishing to deny, for example, a decent salary to their pastor who does not make a living with his hands -- but also the ingrown, incestuous thinking that breeds in out-sight locales.  My paternal grandfather's father brought them to town so he could drink away the family income. I guess Mr. Berry might argue that by moving into town, working for the man across the desk rather than staying close to the family land, introduced their own demise.

I'd argue:  What were they running from? 

I've watched with my own two eyes a good country farmer fist-beat his own boy.  They seemed to keep their farm by the mad farmer's standards.  That did not make them good. I tip-toe around extended family members who fought their whole lives like Jayber Crow to avoid answering to "the man across the desk", leaving a trail of fractured relationships in their wake.

my maternal grandfather and two of his five daughters, my aunts, shortly before he passed away

My maternal grandmother's father -- a Port William-esque village man -- abandoned my grandmother when she was eight year's old because his new wife didn't like her or her older sister.  The country village apparently did not reject him for his decision even though they likely tended their own gardens, gathered their own eggs and milked their own cows.  The authenticity of their economics did not guarantee a purity of heart.

I slogged through Jayber Crow -- mostly late at night or the middle of when I couldn't sleep -- carrying on this internal argument with the author.  As a man Mr. Crow is good of heart, a model for any of us wishing to live a quiet life, work with his hands, and, if possible, be at peace with all men.  His life work barbering the men of the town, lathering their faces for a shave, 363 pages -- depicting more than thirty years -- wore me down gently into an appreciation for his dogged determination to do good and be good in this world.  Mr. Crow (like his creator) would not suffer a rush into his story or to hurry it along at any point.  I had to come to the story on their terms or not at all.  Hidden in the rhythms of this simple life, a reader is rewarded with insight into true love, altering grief, firm conviction and Gospel salvation.  They are their own reward as they do not seem to rouse suspense or surprise in the turning of the plot.  

So I submitted to the book almost as a dare from the mad farmer himself -- he who welcomes his reader to the story with this preface:
Persons attempting to find a "text" in this book will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a "subtext" in it will be banished; persons attempting to explain interpret, explicate, analyze, deconstruct, or otherwise 'understand" it will be exiled to a desert island in the company only of other explainers.
Fair enough, but by turns quite unjust since on many pages I felt like Mr. Crow served as a mouthpiece for an author bemoaning every generation come along since the depression who dared to purchase produce from a chain-supermarket or drive their car across the river to see what was on the other side.  My own rising ire leaves me abashed because, in truth,  I mourn the same losses.  Still, if I could speak to Jayber Crow (aka, Wendell Berry) I'd have to ask "What about the sins of the fathers?"  The 1960's -as turbulent as they've been accused -- could not on their own produce a generation of shameless, ambitious, loveless consumers as you would have us believe.  Someone raised that generation.  Since we share the same theology of free will and depravity of man, I know not to make them solely responsible.  Neither should you, Mr. Berry, make them entirely (romantically) blameless.

In other words, someone raised Maddie Keith to seek her life's love in Troy Chatham.  Someone raised Nate and Hannah Coulter's children to leave home and never look back.  How can it be that you see so clearly the connection between men and nature, both dependent on the other for flourishing and, yet, appear willing to overlook the interdependence of one generation to another?

Or, maybe I'm only projecting onto Mr. Berry my own frustrations with my father's generation.  I worked for a man once -- just a few years younger than my dad, both children of the fifties and sixties -- whose favorite rabbit trail in any conversation involved words of admiration for "the greatest generation" and words of reproach for "kids these days".  And I never could quite figure out how he managed to overlook the fact that his own father -- the drunken man he watched beat his own mother's head against the floor -- was part of that greatest generation?

Ideals blind us, I suppose.

As does cynicism.  I caution myself (and my generation) against the opposite extreme, where Mr. Berry might romanticize I do not want to villianize.

In no uncertain terms, Wendell Berry's Jayber Crow recognizes and shares with us true redemption.  These are the lines that held me in place, kept me visiting his story.  Forgiveness and mercy chosen where hatred wanted place, warm meals and good conversation with friends, a settled sense of being in a world gangbusters with ambition.  These are true callings for any generation.  
For a long time then I seemed to live by a slender thread of faith, spun out from within me. From this single thread I spun strands that joined me to the good things of the world. And then I spun more threads that joined all the strands together, making a life. When it was complete, or nearly so, it was shapely and beautiful in the light of day. It endured through the nights, but sometimes it only barely did. It would be tattered and set awry the things that fell or blew or fled or flew.  Many of the strands would be broken. Those I would have to spin and weave again in the morning.
In order to reconcile myself to the difference I feel between Mr. Berry's observation of the world and mine -- at my own risk, according to his prefaced warning -- I listen to him as I would a prophet rising to an appointed calling, announcing judgement to all transgressors, calling us to change the way we live in order to be spared.  Surly prophet, maybe; most times, I would not want to consider the Port William author my judge.  He seems too already-convinced of my guilt before hearing my story.

On a few occasions, I'd gladly keep company with Mr. Berry as my priest.  The rare -- but unmistakeable -- moments he recognizes helplessness for all mankind, no matter their chosen economy.

[after Jayber Crow chooses mercy over hatred for a man who blindly consumes all that is good and true and beautiful, he falls asleep in the forest.  Upon waking from his "bitter sleep"]...  In the darkness a large black-and-yellow spider had woven a perfect web right above me, guying it to the log, several elderberry stems, and my shirt. I eased out form under it as carefully as I could, but not without damaging it. In my bewilderment I spent several perfectly crazy minutes trying to fix it. But of course a man can't make a spider's web, any more than he can make a world. Finally I said, "Pardon me, old friend, I have got to go."
And moments in which he preaches redemption for all the damned, which is all of us:

This is, as I said and believe, a book about Heaven, but I must say too that it has been a close call. For I have wondered sometimes if it would not finally turn out to be a book about Hell -- where we fail to love one another, where we hate and destroy one another for reasons abundantly provided or for righteousness' sake or for pleasure, where we destroy the things we need the most, where we see no hope and have no faith, where we are needy and alone, where things that ought to stay together fall apart, where ther is such a groaning travail of selfishness in all its forms, where we love one another and die, where we must lose everything to know what we have had.

My small-town lineage tell its own redemption stories.  If I had an ounce of the skill Mr. Berry, I'd write them to share with you.  Now that I've grown more humble in years, I too see the broken web of redemption in them.  Every time my paternal grandfather plays the banjo for dancing great-grandchildren he mirrors the good of his own father, a legendary jolly singer of tunes (even when alcohol-induced).  My maternal grandmother, left on the doorstep of a stranger with one tiny suitcase the size of my laptop to hold all her belongings, once told a circle of her daughters and grandchildren it was the best thing that ever happened to her.  "That was the house where I met Jesus, right on the knee of my foster mother."  

Her stories of that home and that life mixed tragedy and humor -- milking cows, emptying chamber pots for wealthy Catskill tourists, waving good-bye to her foster father as he left for his daily milk truck delivery run.  One of those mornings, the same truck collided with a train and my grandmother and her foster mother took in boarders to make a living.  A living that I'm quite certain Mr. Berry would approve.

The photo I have of the woman who welcomed my grandmother into her family, and eventually introduced her -- and,  future generations leading to me - to Jesus.  I'm the privileged owner of her bookcase.
In this season that I do not have time to write, this is the idea God gave me:  For me to ponder and notice again the words I've already written once, to keep praying the beads of memory to discover this sacramental life.

Won't you join me?  
I'd welcome your company along the way.

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